The Yukon government says the new Salvation Army building on Fourth Avenue in Whitehorse is coming in under budget. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News)

Whitehorse’s new Salvation Army centre coming in under budget, YG says

Cleanup of soil and groundwater cost $1.2M

By Rhiannon Russell

The building of the new Salvation Army centre in Whitehorse is under budget, according to the Department of Health and Social Services, though it’s unclear how much money has been spent on certain aspects of the project.

The total budget for the new centre is $14,875,000. The government has so far spent $14,691,006, said department spokesperson Michelle Boleen.

When the government announced the project in 2015, it said it would contribute $10.2 million. The full amount was spent on construction, said Boleen. She said she didn’t know whether more money was needed.

The Department of Environment’s site assessment and remediation unit spent $26,157 on assessing the property in 2015-2016, Boleen said. It was previously home to a gas station and a car-repair shop. Ultimately, $1,218,764 was spent on cleaning up the soil and groundwater.

Construction of the building is now complete. An opening date has not yet been set, but Health and Social Services spokesperson Pat Living told the News last week it would take place in late September or early October.

The building is in the process of being furnished. Earlier this week, Living said the government provided “a significant contribution towards furniture costs.”

“Funding is being provided directly to the Salvation Army in the form of a transfer payment so they can directly select and purchase furniture,” she said in an email.

Boleen could not provide the exact amount provided to the Salvation Army, but said $280,000 has been spent on “furniture fixtures and equipment.”

The total of these costs — for construction, assessment, remediation, and furniture fixtures — is $11,724,921. It’s not clear what the remaining $2,966,085 has been spent on.

Boleen said, though, the $10.2 million spent on construction did not include the costs of purchasing the land, design, and contingency. “Those are the outstanding figures, but I don’t know the breakdown of them,” she said.

The press release announcing the project back in 2015 said: “In total, the Yukon government is contributing $10.2 million for the lot purchase, design development and construction of the centre.”

The government has spent $3 million in federal Northern Housing Trust money, Boleen said, and the Salvation Army also contributed funds. “I can’t speak to whether that’s included in the (budget), $14.8 million.”

Living said earlier this week that the department and the Salvation Army have been working together over the past several months to create a plan for the centre’s programming.

The building, located at Fourth Avenue and Alexander Street, will have 25 shelter beds and 22 transitional housing apartments. It will replace the aging facility across the street.

Contact the Yukon News at editor@yukon-news.com

Correction: The original version of this story mistakenly stated that $1,218,764 was spent on cleaning up the soil and dealing with asbestos found during demolition. That money was actually just spent on soil and groundwater cleanup and does not include the asbestos removal. Asbestos remediation cost another $137,553 and is part of the building’s overall budget according to the Department of Highways and Public Works.